Controversial Congress leader Saifuddin Soz launched his book in the national capital on Monday. Two things were of interest to average Indians: (a) Would Congress be seen in public with the leader who echoes secessionists’ voices; (b) Would Congress respect the popular sentiment and punish its key man in the Kashmir Valley.
Soz in the past one week has brought the focus on Congress and its’ exchanges with the secessionist forces. Officially, Congress dubbed Soz’s statements as stray remarks and “cheap gimmick”. The party also talked about the state unit taking action against him.
However, even as Congress threatened action, Soz continued speaking the voice of secessionists to the media, stating that Kashmiris would prefer freedom. This was incongruous and appeared a classic smokescreen: to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.
Hence the interest in the book launch of Soz and the related two questions, uppermost in mind. There was no live coverage of the event but TV news and newspapers this morning were all airbrushed versions: Manmohan-skips; Chidambaram-stays-away-as-panelist etc. There was no media questioning on what senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh was doing in the event. Is he not part of Congress? And isn’t his presence a soft message to Soz that he remains one of the boys?
So has Congress really distanced itself from Soz? Or would it distance itself from Jairam Ramesh?
Now look at what Congress has promised as action against Soz: It has said that it’s the state unit which will take an action. Really? Since when state units have mattered to hideously dynastic Congress? Since when state units could take decisions independent of central command? And if the state unit absolves Soz of any guilt, maybe a week, a month or a year from now, shouldn’t it be seen as a ruling of the Congress leadership itself?
Soz’ brazenness shows the support he is getting from his own ranks. At the book launch, he made another shocker: That Sardar Patel wanted to exchange Kashmir for Hyderabad with Pakistan. Nobody has asked Congress if it believes in this claim. And if it doesn’t, would it move to take action against Soz?
There must be a lot in Soz’s persona for Congress to play this game of red herring. And it’s involvement in the Kashmir politics.
The media, mostly TV channels have also merrily stated that Arun Shourie termed the famous “surgical strike” as “farzical strike” in a bid to attack the Modi government. What they haven’t reported and which is highlighted in a Hindi report is that journalists questioned him, pointing out that the claims of “surgical strike” was made by the army itself. So by terming it “farzical strike,” isn’t Shourie insulting our own armed forces?
In response, the news report states, “शौरी ने पत्रकारों को भी गधा बता दिया और फिर गुस्से में निकल गए.(Shourie called journalists as asses and walked out in anger).”
If the above report is true, it throws up very disturbing questions. One, that Shourie sidetracks facts; two, his lack of tolerance and respect for fellows of own profession; and three, the “deep state” within India which advocates Kashmir’s independence and toes the lie of terrorists, ISI and Pakistan.
Above all, independent voices in this country must question these forces and our very own media for their commitment to India’s integrity and sovereignty.
Author of “How United States Shot Humanity”, Senior Journalist, TV Presenter